Risen, Clay
May 2003
New Republic;5/26/2003, Vol. 228 Issue 20, p10
In January 2003, the George W. Bush administration nominated James Leon Holmes, a Little Rock lawyer, to sit on Arkansas's Eastern District Court. On April 10, 2003, however, Holmes's nomination was delayed indefinitely in the Judiciary Committee after a group of Democrats, along with moderate Republican Arlen Specter, balked at his religious-right provenance. (As the former president of Arkansas Right to Life and a longtime anti-abortion activist, Holmes had authored articles arguing that "the woman is to place herself under the authority of the man" and comparing the pro-choice movement to Nazi Germany.) In an almost unprecedented move, on May 1, 2003, Republicans sent Holmes to the Senate floor without the Judiciary Committee's imprimatur. Ultimately, though, what makes Holmes an anomaly among President Bush's district court nominees is neither his far-right provenance nor the fact that he has made it to the Senate floor. What's anomalous about Holmes is that Democrats slowed his nomination down at all, even temporarily. While Democratic senators have waged a few high-profile battles over Bush's nominees to higher courts--for instance, Miguel Estrada, Priscilla Owen, and Charles Pickering--they have put up little resistance to the administration's steady politicization of the lower federal courts.


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